“We’re back !” Mountain West Conference football announced with a graphic and video on social media Thursday.
The 12-member conference that the University of Hawaii calls home said it will play an eight-game schedule beginning Oct. 24 and running through Dec. 19, pending approval from state and county officials.
The MWC’s return was announced three hours after the Pac-12 confirmed its return.
The schedule was not immediately announced.
Prior to the, UH had been scheduled to play a 13-game schedule, eight games in the MWC.
The vote by the conference Board of Directors reversed an Aug. 10 ruling by the same body that the 2020 fall season would be postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.
That left the MWC as one of four Football Bowl Subdivision conferences on the sidelines. Six others had already started play or are scheduled to begin competition this week.
But following a Sept. 16 reversal by the Big Ten, which cited improvements made in virus testing and tracing, the MWC, Pac-12 and Mid-American conferences announced intentions to reevaluate their positions.
On Monday MWC athletic directors presented a proposal to the Board of Directors, which is composed of presidents of the football-playing members. New, rapid-testing procedures were said to be a key element of the proposal.
Without playing football this season, the MWC would not be able to fully collect on the first year of the six-year, $270 million TV rights agreement it signed with CBS Sports and Fox in January.
In addition, it would not have a team considered for the lucrative New Year’s Six bowl appearance that goes to the highest Group of 5 conference teams in the College Football Playoff rankings.
UH finished 10-5 in 2019, winning the West Division of the MWC and the Hawaii Bowl. When head coach Nick Rolovich left for Washington State in January he was succeeded by Todd Graham
Pac-12 football to start Nov. 6
The Pac-12 is set to kickoff a seven-game football season Nov. 6.
With the conference having secured daily COVID-19 testing for its athletes and been given the green light from state and local health officials, the Pac-12 CEO Group voted unanimously Thursday to lift a Jan. 1 moratorium on athletic competition.
The Pac-12′s men’s and women’s basketball seasons can start Nov. 25, in line with the NCAA’s recently announced opening date. The football championship game is set for Dec. 18, putting the conference in play for College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six Bowl selection — and the multimillion dollar payouts that come with them.
The turning point for the return of sports in the Pac-12 came Sept. 3 when it entered an agreement with diagnostic testing company Quidel that will give each school the capacity to conduct daily antigen tests on their athletes.
No fans will be permitted at Pac-12 sporting events taking place on campus, the conference said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report